Pawlenty needles Obama upon campaign stop in Minnesota

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) needled President Obama upon his planned campaign stop in the state on Saturday.

Pawlenty, a potential Republican candidate to challenge Obama in 2012, leveled criticisms against the president, and promoted his own fiscally conservative record as a two-term governor.

"Mr. President, thanks for visiting our great state – it is an honor, even if it is just for politics," Pawlenty said.

Obama is set to deliver remarks at a rally at the University of Minnesota on Saturday afternoon, and then attend a fundraising dinner for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) on Saturday evening.

Pawlenty touched on some Minnesota sayings in criticizing Obama, saying, for instance: "Some Minnesotans don't like to offend people by coming right out and saying NO, so instead they say, 'Eh, not so much,' like if you asked Minnesotans, 'Do you like the federal take over of health care?' They might say, 'Eh, not so much.'"

The Minnesota Republican also played up his own record as governor, in contrast to Obama. Pawlenty talked up his efforts to hold down spending and reform education in the state to emphasize performance pay.

The governor is trying to make waves of a possible run for president. Conservative columnist George WIll certainly didn't do any harm to Pawlenty by penning a column this weekend praising the governor.